Can Ghana help resolve Africa’s current power crisis?

Can Ghana help resolve Africa’s current power crisis?

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Background

Following a number of years of political stability and good governance, Ghana’s economy has grown significantly over recent years making the country a regional powerhouse in West Africa. The strength of its economy has grown not only thanks to its stable democratic political system but also in part thanks to its ability to diversify. Their stock exchange is at present the 5th largest in continental Africa and the country has set itself a target, known as the “Ghana Vision 2020” to become the first developed country in Africa by 2029 and then a fully industrialized country by 2039.

Ghana is currently the 2nd biggest global cocoa producer, slightly behind Ivory Coast and also a major producer of petroleum and natural gas as well as minerals including gold, diamonds. Ghana also exports significant amounts of bauxite, granites, dolomites and manganese.

Real estate continues to be another important sector for Ghana, with significant growth being seen in the housing market, especially in southern parts of Ghana where the market has shown and continues to show massive growth potential.

Ghana is currently emerging as a country, like Taiwan, with a hybrid economy. This is being achieved by continuing to ensure the growth of its traditional mining and exports, whilst also increasing the amount of digital technological goods they both manufacture and export, namely communication and information technologies such as smart phones.

Regional power hub

A number of countries across Africa, including Ivory Coast and Nigeria are currently suffering significant power shortages and supply problems, and the Ghanaian President has promised to resolve these issues for them by becoming a major exporter of electricity. Plans for this were originally discussed in 2012 and again in 2014 however at a recent Energy and Natural Resources meeting at the University of Sunyani, John Mahama the President of Ghana, confirmed his commitment to becoming a major exporter of power in the region, calling on the University to explore ways of achieving a sustainable energy supply, saying “Indeed, my vision is to make Ghana a net exporter of Power when the West Africa Regional electricity market becomes operational sometime next year,”.

He has stated that thanks to significant Chinese investment in their power generation facilities and by harnessing the full potential of a number of different energy sources, including biofuels, nuclear energy and the countries significant hydro electrical dams, they are now generating a surplus of power which is available for exportation to countries with power deficits. “Where Africa faces some of its challenges lies its biggest opportunities. We are leveraging on public-private sector partnership to build infrastructure. Be it roads, electricity, ports or communication systems; if we create the right environment, investors will come. Creating the right environment that will attract foreign direct investment is key,” Mahama said.

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